Want to form a new habit?
How do you make a good habit stick?
Whether is healthy eating, wanting to learn a new skill or just remembering to do a habit that has lapsed over time, what steps can you take?
I love James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits. His view is you shouldn’t try and go BIG, but small steps will lead to giant gains.
Here are 4 steps based on his book.
MAKE IT OBVIOUS
WRITE IT DOWN
Words or visual helps you become more aware.
My mood board has images of things I want to achieve. I am a visual person, so this helps me.
Why not an item of clothing you want to fit into or a photo of a place you want to visit
This means =Behaviour + time + location
For example – every 30 minutes I will drink a glass of water at my desk, kitchen etc
I will eat a piece of fruit at 3.00pm when I go and pick the kids up from school.
After a CURRENT HABIT, I will do a NEW HABIT
For example – after my early morning cuppa, I will drink a glass of water.
After checking my personal social media, I will do some sit-ups…
I will do squats whilst cleaning my teeth
Visible and obvious….
Water bottle on your desk, fruit bowl in the kitchen, running shoes by the door, meal planner on the fridge with a shopping list.
MAKE IT ATTRACTIVE
Pair it with an action you want to do with something you need to do.
Love watching trashy tv but need to get moving more. Watch it whilst running or cycling on a machine at home or the gym
Even better results come from bundling and habit stacking!!
JOIN A CULTURE
Proximity has a powerful effect on our behaviour. We imitate the behaviour of people around us.
Want to learn to cook better – find a cooking club
Need to improve your running? Join a running club
Need to get motivated for exercise – find a club that supports you
Belonging to a tribe means you make a personal quest into a shared one.
CREATE A ROUTINE
It needs to motivate you and fit into your lifestyle.
Schedule it. Put it in your diary. Make it non-negotiable
REPROGRAM YOUR BRAIN
Not “need” but “get” Negative to positive
Rather – I need to eat better – I get to feel amazing
Rather – I need to go for a run – I get to be faster
Rather – I need to save money – I get to go on a great holiday
MAKE IT EASY
DECREASE THE STEPS
Water bottle on your desk. or running shoes by your door.
Having to make a big effort may mean you don't bother.
Don’t think 2 litres of water, but increasing by a glass a day
Don’t think running 30 minutes, but each day increase by a few minutes
Not 21 lbs to lose, but 2lb a week
It will make it easier to stick to your habit.
Monday is meal planning day, and Tuesday is online shopping day
Look ahead at your day/week – don’t rely on having time, but make time
Apps on your phone
Water, steps, moving more, Pomodoro technique for focus, tracking your food, making a shopping list, planning Christmas presents.
There are so many to help you on your phone.
MAKE IT SATISFYING
REWARDING AND ENFORCEMENT
For every 7 lb I lose I will treat myself to a new lipstick
For every 5 k I run (without stopping) will put £1 in my piggy bank and buy a new running top/bottom
For every day I don’t snack I will finish work 15 minutes early
DOING NOTHING IS GOOD
Avoiding an old bad habit is just as important and powerful
Stress and wanting a glass of wine. Not doing this is a win
Bored and wanting to snack. Not doing this is a win
Keeping a scorecard of your progress. The satisfaction of seeing your progress is huge.
I used to do it for increasing my weights for my deadlifts etc.
My clients do this each week on a progress sheet. Motivation!!
DON’T MISS TWICE
3 or 4 or more times!
Couldn’t get to the gym. Go the next day
Missed the book club. Commit to a member to go the next time and get them to remind you.
Get someone to remind you. Find a support buddy
I hope these 4 steps help you form a new good habit.
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